If a rider is competing at Novice year after year and consistently winning...they should at least ride in the Open division and leave the Rider divisions for the newbies and up and coming teams.
I decided to move up to Training this year after my horse and I placed very well at two Novice level events with dressage scores in the 20's. If I hadn't moved up to Training, I would have definitely moved into Open Novice.
I have to agree that open novice is not as tough as the restricted divisions, from my experience.
Robby..scoring below 30 is a challenge, finishing on that score is another challenge for sure, one i know all too well.
There are a lot of horses that do go double clean that don't break the mid 30s. These horses are capable of moving up more than the one phase wonders...maybe they won't be in the riboons, but I'd love to have a whole season of double cleans even if I never got a ribbon.
I have ridden Beg. Novice this last year. It was my first full year competing. I placed at every trial but not high but generally on my dressage score (high 30's) Next spring I will start with a Beg. Novice and most likely move up to Novice. The dressage test will be the same at most places and I think we still need work but we do have the ability to move up to the next division. Our jumping is there just not our dressage.
Common sense is the least common thing in the world.
My trainer and I were discussing this the yesterday when I got a 28 in dressage at CDCTA with my mare at novice. I didn't think the test was that great and I've recieved a 25 from the same judge before after an equally mediocre test. She thinks, being a dressage judge herself, that this judge had been sitting through novice tests all day where most horses were not being ridden on the bit, through and round so she would give them 4's and 5's. But a horse like mine comes along who can trot around on the bit (it might not be the perfect test), and she is obligated to give me 7's and 8's on movements because she is judging to a standard. I think it makes sense. I would get sick of watching a million novice horses all day too if only a few were actually correct.
I just recently scribed at a USDF recognized dressage show for a bunch of Training level tests. I would say that on average the quality of the dressage tests I see at a Horse Trials in the Novice division is better than what I saw at the dressage show. There are some really quality rides out there and the last few Horse trials I have been to there has been less than a rail separating the first 6 riders or so in Novice. That is really competitive. On the other end of the scale, when there's a bad ride at a horse trials it is really bad. Usually a total melt down, someone that just wants to "get through dressage" to go have some fun.
I think a dressage score is no indicator of whether it is time to move up in eventing.
Set youself apart from the crowd, ride a paint horse, you're sure to be spotted
One is that many folks dream of the 20's and for the most part I see people that either really have worked hard to get to that level of communication with their partners or those horses who just "fall" into that auto frame that some judges reward. I think those are the ones people can get testy about as it does not seem fair to those who are just outside the 20's and have to work so hard for some of the 8's while some horses just push peanuts and rack up great scores.
TWO: While nobody wants anyone to fall or get hurt many may mislead themselves in believing that if you have one of those awesomely coveted scores in dressage that there are not those hoping for a run out and or a few rails from the evil trolls coming your way. And I am assuming some will take this wrong and no not everyone thinks this way but it is part of the game. You think the close up's at the olympics of tense faced and clinched fists competitors watching counter parts in stadium or the grand prix ring faces falling with a clear round or hands raised high when a rail comes down and they win the gold or place is by accident? Now are those people evil? NO
THREE: we all know their are career novice riders out there and I respect them a lot. Have some in my barn. In some ways the pressure is on them too, after all they should be perfect as that is all they do right? Those career novice people and folks under training support this sport in ways we should praise. I think sometimes the open novice can be harder or easier to place in especially in the first part of the year when many trainers have babies out there and it is pot luck. We all know the feeling of reading the list of competitors towards the end of the year and sighing when you see a certain name knowing that their dressage will be good ;-)
I think what people are misssing in my previous post is the emphasis placed on "If you horse is up to it" and I should have added the rider as well. Not placing any pressure on people to move up. It is just that in Dressage when you consistently score above the 70's than it is viewed as a time to set a new goal.
It was my mistake as I guess sometimes my youth and goals get in my way and I forget that not everybody wants an advanced level horse.
These great scores at novice deserve as many congrats as those seen by some of our best riders at the upper levels.
I think that more people are starting to focus on dressage and learn how to do it correctly. When I was in Pony Club and beginning to event it was all about pulling your horse into a frame. Nothing about activating the hind end. When I started to train with actual dressage riders I had a wake up call. I learned to ride from back to front and how to bend and use my seat.
At the few events I have been to I still see a lot of people who don't have a clue how to ride dressage or how to supple their horses. These people may move up if thier horses are good jumpers but they won't be competive on a consistent basis. Just like my horse who does great dressage but stops x-country. I need to practice over x-country jumps until I do become consistent.
I guess I am one of those who will stay at novice simply because I am comfortable there. I have competed my event horse up to second level in recognized dressage with solid scores of 60% and above but he is not a solid x-country horse. He has done the 4ft jumpers but he really requires a strong ride out x-country and if I mess up he makes me pay.
That being said he is not the type I would want to take much higher than training. As the questions get harder he backs off even more. Thus I try to stay at a level where self preservation is an option. Now if I had a different horse I would not have a problem competing at a higher level but truthfully it is hard to do when you work full time and don't practice over these bigger fences on a daily basis.
When I am teaching my students we spend most of our time working on the dressage if they have a horse that is already a good jumper. I encourage my students to show at the dressage shows and take clinics with the top level dressage riders because that is what gets you to the top in dressage. I take lessons on my trainers upper level schoolmaster just to learn how to do the movements so that I can make my horse better. I have competed up through fourth level and I love the dressage. It is hard and fustrating but rewarding at the same time. It makes you ride better and it certaintly makes your horse jump better.
I have always seemed to be able to put in a decent test then go clear on the other two phases and have to capitalize on the "misfortunes of others" to get to the ribbons. However, at MidSouth last weekend in ON I received a 21.5 in ON http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...s/icon_eek.gif, Of course we dropped a rail in SJ and moved to 2nd but had clean cc. The roles had reversed and I was the one experiencing the "misfortune".
It did enforce one thing...If you win the dressage, you CAN win the event! But you still have to have the double clears.
A score of 77 is fairly good, and should be within the reach of the rider. The highest I have given was a -4 (the old system) which was 90% (which is the highest score I ever gave). It was a lovely lovely consistent balanced test! I wish everyone could do the same. (Then you have have your clear x country, and even pull a pole or two in stadium). Its not the hard, work the basics of pure rhythm, steady tempo, and equitation!
I was thinking about this over the weekend after the responses saying that Open Novice is many times easier. I don't think the point is about riding in the easier division, because depending on who is there, it can be a toss up which division will have the lowest score (hence harder, but even this is not a true idea of the level of competition because there may be different judges for the divisions). The point is about riding in the division which accurately reflects your experience. Rider divisions are traditionally geared toward newbies to the sport and less experienced riders. It is nice to give these riders a chance to have a blue ribbon instead of having the division dominated by riders who have years of experience at that level.
That is why I am so against "Amateur" divisions at the lower levels - it allows "professional novice riders" to dominate the divisions with no regard to experience. I just think that the "rider," "open," and "horse" divisions split the lower levels more appropriately. However, I do find that once most Novice riders are performing consistently well at that level (not placing-wise, but performance-wise) that they do move up, instead of hanging around to win a top ribbon. Gotta love eventers! http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c...on_biggrin.gif
On the flip side, should a horse who has consistently poor dressage "NOT" move up? I would argue that many Tbs - mine included - do not excel at dressage for purely mental reasons. No matter how hard we work at home, whatever distracting factors on show day as well as how opinionated pony decides he wants to be will all figure into that score. (Our best score EVER was a 34 at our very first novice HT. Trying to duplicate that ever since. But, he will jump me out of any hole I put him in...if I give him the chance.)
Suffice it to say, I believe dressage as a whole is getting better but is only one part of three with, hopefully, cross country maintaining its position as the most influential component. I believe we should all strive for better dressage since it is the basis for our communication over fences. But sometimes a hotheaded Tb could care less about a dressage "test."
If it's just a "ring nerves" issue, then I think moving up on so-so dressage scores is OK (I am living proof...I don't have ring nerves, but Gwen seems to) but if the bad dressage scores are because a horse and rider are just not educated or communicating, then that can be a scary recipe.
flbay: I don't think that dressage SCORES should decide whether a horse should "move up" or not. However, I do think that there are some critical "skill sets" that are used in the dressage tests which the horse should have before moving up. My example would be in the training level dressage test. The horses ability to lengthen and then collect his canter is just one "required movement" on the test. But on the x-c course--I think it is very important for a horse to be able to do this before they can start tackling more technical jumps on a course (i.e. a coffin). Probably not REALLY needed until Prelim--but I think it's safer if that "button" is there at training level.
However, lack of relaxation is one of the things that can cause a horse to have a low dressage score--even though all of the "gears" are there for the horse to safely jump. So I don't know that a poor dressage score (due to tension) is really reflective of the horses level of training.
I have to say I completely agree with Kelly and what point she was trying to bring to light. I do not think that one poster was trying to say that if you get consistent stellar dressage scores over and over that you HAVE to move up to the next level. I think the poster was trying to point out the same principles Kelly explained.
I have nothing to lose or anything really to gain by saying any of this. I donâ€™t compete so it is not as if I have sour grapes. I do not really know the pair in questionâ€”though I have seen them run as I have hundreds of other pairs. But, I do read the results and I do tend to think I keep a semi decent finger on the pulse so to speak.
To me, if a pair is consistently placing in the top 3 of the group at almost every outingâ€”what does that pair do? Do they move up? Well, what if they canâ€™t? What if the horse canâ€™t? What if the rider canâ€™t? Nothing wrong with that.
But is it entirely ethical to continue to ride in Novice Rider?
Sure it is legal. You could be a pro and as long as you have not competed above that level you are free to continue to ride as a Novice Rider. But are you? Or should you? Should you be able to ride in that division when the division is set up in the spirit of a rider just starting out in that division?
But just because something is legal does not necessarily make it ethical. To say it is, is to try to say there is no difference between what is enforceable and unenforceable. Just because something is ethical does not mean it is legal.
So.. my point? Ride in a venue that is more appropriate for your obvious skill and talent. I could care less if a rider does not want to ever move up. Hey, I donâ€™t blame you. But ride in a level which properly showcases that skill and talent. It is a choice and would probably be more of a challenge then against riders who are testing out their legs and skills.
This does not only go to the pair named in this thread. And this is not personal. It is not even the green evil monster of envy. But I tell you perhaps all the ribbons and trophies will even be more sweet when ridden against other riders of the same or higher caliber.
I used to think, my primary background was hunters, that only the pro amateurs were located within dressage and hunters. I used to think that quite honestly eventing stood taller and more proud than thatâ€”I have since realized the pro amateur is neither an anomaly nor a rarity.
I've often thought (AND proposed, but only in a sort of "what if" mode) that a points system ought to exist rather than "Rider" and "Horse" and "Open" divisions...once you pin high enough at a given level to accrue a certain number of POINTS, you either have to move up or ride in the "Open" divisions. No more 10-year veterans in the "Rider" divisions, but nobody has to move up a LEVEL if they don't want to.
So there would be NOVICE divisions and OPEN NOVICE divisions. You may show in Novice until you (the rider) accumulate "x" number of points (based on placings) and then you must ride in Open Novice. No requirements for horses: you can ride your ex-Advanced packer in Novice forever and ever, if all you do is show twice a year and/or you don't pin high enough to "score out" of the Novice division. But if you win everything in sight, you move up or you go "Open" with all the other packers, pros, and veteran Novice riders. This keeps the "plain" Novice division the domain of those who are learning, who show infrequently, and/or those with moderately talented horses, etc. Those folks can still get a nice ribbon now and then, but wouldn't have to go "Open" unless they earned so many of them that they're probably now at least reasonably competitive anyhow.